The Touts and Towers in Gondar

If you ask me, it is more impressive what Gondar was and not so much what Gondar is today. The city in North West used to be the capitol of Etiopia (from 1632 to 1835) and the Royal Enclosure is still a proof of that, even after earthquakes and British bombings before UNESCO made it a heritage site in 1979.

Entrance to the site was 300(11$) for adults, 75(3$) for students or free if you just walked in the unguarded gate from the Piassa. Having a lonely planet guide let me follow a map and the stories of each building, if I didn’t have that it would have made sense paying another 10$ to have a guide.

Except for the fortified Royal Enclosure sites and some churches, there was not much to see and do in Gonder. It’s more a place where people stop to break up a journey from Southern Ethiopia to North or from Ethiopia to Sudan.

I was there trying to get a bus ticket and some Sudanese Pounds to prepare for the border crossing and was so lucky to meet Abrish and Solomon, who were quick to show me around the bus station, showing me the bus which they were working on ans helping me exchange money at the “best possible” rates. They walked with me for hours, sold me a ticket for 3usd and afterwards told me that they would pick me up from my couchsurfing host at 4.30 in the morning.

I waited outside at 4am but noone came, and at 5am I started walking and hitchhiking to the bus station which was almost 30km away while trying to call them. But with no answers.

I am used to getting ripped off once in a while, but was really upset to have thought that I had gotten new friends who were genuinely trying to help me, just to see them cheat me for such a small sum! I wish I could have given them the money as I must say the loss of trust hurt more than the loss of the three dollars.

Abrish and Solomon. If you see them in Gondar then stay away!

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